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MarketWatch has a piece suggesting that while Barnes & Noble’s continuing problems - lousy holiday sales led to the announcement of layoffs this week - usually are blamed on Amazon, it also has another problem: the popularity of small, independent bookstores.

The argument is that “many of the smaller and surviving local booksellers have almost a cult following and they have well-publicized readings and other similar events,” according to bankruptcy lawyer Chuck Tatelbaum. “Chain stores such as Barnes & Noble cannot compete with that type of activity.”

The story also quotes Tatelbaum as saying that he “thinks Barnes & Noble is at a disadvantage because of its ‘limited’ merchandise. “Unlike other retailers which can change the mix of inventory to attract customers, a large bookseller cannot,” he said.
KC's View:
It is a funny argument, however true it may be. It seems that Barnes & Noble suffers at the hands of Amazon which can carry so much more product, and at the hands of smaller retailers, which have less but more targeted and relevant books.

Like I often say, the middle of the road is where you find roadkill, and the mainstream is where you go to drown.